Israel will soon be admitted to the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (jointly referred to as PIC/S) - two international bodies that provide constructive cooperation between countries and pharmaceutical manufacturers in the field of GMP (good manufacturing practice) for medications. This step was brought closer last week by an examination of the standards of medical materials - held jointly by the Health Ministry's Institute for Monitoring and Standards for Medical Materials and representatives of PIC/S, on behalf of the European Union. As it was successful, the effort will lead to the signing of mutual recognition with the EU in the field of supervision over drug manufacture. The ministry said such agreements will increase the accessibility of Israeli medications for export abroad and make possible the distribution of information and know-how to other PIC/S member countries. Better supervision, said the ministry, will lead to better supervision of drugs manufactured in Israel and more efficient protection of public health. PIC/S says its mission is "to lead the international development, implementation and maintenance of harmonized GMP standards and quality systems of inspectorates in the field of medicinal products. This is to be achieved by developing and promoting harmonized GMP standards and guidance documents; training competent authorities, in particular inspectors; assessing (and reassessing) inspectorates; and facilitating the cooperation and networking for competent authorities and international organizations." At present, 34 countries are participating members of the PIC/S.